Consecration of the Priests
The Torah goes on to detail the process by which Aaron, his sons and their descendents will be anointed as God’s priests for all eternity. They must bring an offering consisting a a young bull, two unblemished rams, and a basket of different kinds of unleavened bread with oil. They must come to the entrance of the Tabernacle, where they will be washed and dressed, then anointing oil will be poured over them. The animals and the unleavened loaves will be brought before God in a specific manner to atone for their sins and to consecrate them. Portions of the meat are designated for the priests’ consumption, and they must be eaten in holiness on the day of the offering. Leftovers must be burned the next morning. This service will not only inaugurate the priests themselves, but also the altar upon which the sacrifices are brought. The entire process is to take seven days. Sons inheriting their fathers’ priesthoods must undergo a similar process in the future.
God introduces the consecration process by saying this is the “thing” that must be done. As the Israel Bible points out, the Hebrew word for “thing”, davar, can also mean “word”. The Sages refer to this verse to teach that today, when there is no longer a Tabernacle or Temple service, God is still accessible to the people through words and prayer.
Virtual Classroom Discussion
God requires Aaron and his sons to lay their hands on the animals of the sacrifice as they are being slaughtered. What purpose do you think this serves?